“Live like you were dying” – Tim McGraw

Vic and Esther 8.1.2013
Vic and Esther 8.1.2013

I read this post today –  http://daysnet.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/we-need-to-step-back-and-just-breathe/   I always remember the Tim McGraw song


He said   “I was in my early forties
With a lot of life before me
And a moment came that stopped me on a dime
I spent most of the next days
Looking at the x-rays
Talkin’ ’bout the options
And talkin’ ’bout sweet time”
I asked him
“When it sank in
That this might really be the real end
How’s it hit you
When you get that kind of news?
Man, what’d you do?”

He said
“I went skydiving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying”
And he said
Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying”
He said
“I was finally the husband
That most of the time I wasn’t
And I became a friend a friend would like to have
And all of a sudden going fishin’
Wasn’t such an imposition

And I went three times that year I lost my dad
I finally read the Good Book, and I
Took a good, long, hard look
At what I’d do if I could do it all again

It dawned on me that we have been luckier than most.  We have lived as if Vic was dying all our lives.  We lived every second.  Vic lived every second.  Only the last week of her life she went into dying mode.  Only once she was sedated did she succumb to dying.  The rest of her life she lived; we lived her life.  Every single birthday we celebrated Vic’s life.

We have a family tradition, (which the kids hate), of having eulogy speeches on everyone’s birthday.  So on our birthdays we would go around the table and everyone gets to say something nice of the birthday boy/girl…  We call it our “Living Eulogy”…  So often we only speak well of the dead.  We treat the living with contempt and disregard; we do not acknowledge their achievements and goodness…We are so focussed on success.  Success by our own terms!

I am grateful for our family tradition and I will not allow it to die off…  I am grateful Vic knew how much we revered her….

Vic did not have a career or a degree, fame or fortune.  Yet she has touched thousands of people’s lives worldwide and will continue to do so through Stepping Stone Hospice.  I am grateful that she heard how much we loved and respected her.   The most common words were “You are the bravest person I know…”

Vic was an amazing mother.  She loved and nurtured her boys.  I wonder whether they ever witnessed her tears of pain when she cooked for them or made their lunch for school…. I did.

We will continue to honour Vic’s life through our actions and words.